In our countdown of Top 10 Golf Practice Tips, here is another simple bit of advice that you should all be doing to improve your golf quicker.
Feel vs Real
Anyone who has successfully made a change in their golf swing understands that what they feel they are doing and what they are actually doing can be worlds apart.
This can cause havoc when making a change, because we can often believe that we are doing what we are supposed to. I have seen countless people (in fact, very close to 50% of people) completely mis-read where they have struck on the face – thinking they have hit the toe of the club when they have actually hit the shank.
Imagine the problem these people have when they now try to fix the issue. This is why golfers often get worse when practicing more – because they haven’t a clue what is actually happening.
So, what can we do about this?
In my teaching, one of the most powerful tools I use is simply giving the student quality feedback.
In fact, I see so many golfers improve instantly, purely as a result of the feedback, without any technical intervention having to be made by myself. As an example, this week I had a single figure handicap player complaining of inconsistency and poor feeling at impact. As I started my info gathering part of the session by looking at his strike (using a dry erase marker pen), he quickly noticed that he was striking everything out of the toe of the club.
Within minutes, he was able to self-adjust and shift the pattern more towards the sweet spot. Trackman showed us that he gained 10 yards of carry distance, as well as tightening the dispersion in all dimensions.
Why wasn’t he able to do this on his own? Simple – he didn’t know what was happening.
Bridging the gap
The beautiful thing about being a human is that, as long as we know
- What we want
- If we are doing it or not
Our brains can do a hell of a lot of good stuff to close down the gap.
Some people fall at the first hurdle – they don’t know what it is that they need to do to create a good shot. Others fall at the second – they don’t know if they are doing it. Feedback is the way we bridge the gap between feel and real and make improvements quicker.
Let’s face it, how quickly would you learn to play darts if you were blindfolded? Knowing what just happened is vital to improvement.
Forms of feedback
On the market today, there are countless forms of quality feedback we can use.
- Marker pen/face spray/face tape for strike location
- A tee or a coin on the ground to look at divot/grass brushing location
- Video phones with analyzer apps
- Good quality training aids (there are a lot of crappy ones on the market too)
Even the ball flight itself is a great form of feedback if you know what you are looking for and you can interpret the information.
I also do a lot of practice drills in a fairway bunker with my students, as it tells us a lot about how the club is swinging in all dimensions.
If you have the opportunity, there are some great bits of kit out there that many teaching professionals now use (myself included) to get a more accurate diagnosis of your swing/game. For example, I use Trackman, which can give you almost anything you need to know about ball flight and club data, including things such as
- Swing path
- launch angle
- spin rates
- strike quality
- carry/total distances
And much much more. In fact, I used data on spin and launch angle to optimize my own swing and pick up 56 yards of distance with my driver.
Forms of feedback not to use
- The advice of your 16 handicap playing partner. Trust me, they don’t have a good eye for this stuff
I wrote more about taking advice from your playing partners in a separate article – one of the most shared articles I have ever had.
Best form of feedback
The best form of feedback you can get is to visit your professional instructor.
They have the thousands of hours of teaching experience, knowledge, and know-how to give you the correct medication for your issues. Whereas you see the tip of the iceberg, or the symptoms of an issue (such as a chicken wing), your pro can instantly see the underlying causes and link it back in a cause – effect chain reaction. This allows the pro to get to the root of the issue, rather than trying to treat the symptom (which may cause more harm than good).
To learn more about what forms of feedback to use to improve, how to train effectively and create a pro-quality plan of action for you game, click below.
Also, in order to improve your strike, I show you many drills, techniques, concepts and forms of unique feedback you can use. Click the image below to find out more about The Strike Plan.